EU launches new antitrust charge against Google's search ads

European Commission also strengthens charge against Google's shopping comparison service

The European Commission (EC) has issued a new antitrust charge against Google concerning its search business, and strengthened an existing charge against its shopping comparison service.

The EC's fresh charge accuses Google of blocking rivals from placing search adverts on third-party websites, arguing the search giant has abused its dominant position in the market by preventing third-party websites from displaying search ads from competitors using the AdSense for Search platform.

The platform acts as an intermediary when large retailers seek advertisers for search boxes they include on their own sites. With an estimated 80 per cent market share of this business, Google allegedly signs contracts with such websites that restricts their ability to get search adverts from other providers.

Margrethe Vestager, European Competition Commissioner, said: "Google has come up with many innovative products that have made a difference to our lives, but that doesn't give Google the right to deny other companies the chance to compete and innovate.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"Google has hindered competition by limiting the ability of its competitors to place search adverts on third-party websites, which stifles consumer choice and innovation."

The Commission is reinforcing another charge against Google's shopping comparison business, after first raising objections last year.

The case states that Google has been favouring its own internet shopping comparison results over results from rival services in search results, which is in violation of competition policy.

Vestager said: "We now have more evidence to show how important prominent display on Google's search result pages is to a website's traffic.We believe that Google's actions have harmed consumers, who get the results that Google wants them to see, not necessarily the ones that are most relevant."

If found guilty, Google could face fines of up to 10 per cent of its global turnover for each case of breaching antitrust rules.

A spokesman for Google told IT Pro: "We believe that our innovations and product improvements have increased choice for European consumers and promote competition. We'll examine the Commission's renewed cases and provide a detailed response in the coming weeks."

Google is also facing a separate antitrust suit about its Android mobile OS.

29/06/2016:Look out Google, the EU is about to investigate your ad business

The EU is set to launch a third antitrust investigation into Google, it is claimed.

The latest complaint relates to the search giant's advertising services, according toBloomberg, citing three sources close to the matter.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Rivals of Google have submitted complaints about the services to the EU, which has asked them if it can share their complaints with Google, the publication said.

Google's advertising services are central to the company's revenue they made up $18 billion of Google's $20 billion revenue for the three months ending March 2016, according to parent company Alphabet's latest financial results.

Complaints about Google's Adwords and AdSense services date back to 2010, according to Reuters, with competitors arguing exclusivity clauses and other restrictions imposed on advertisers are unfair.

Neither the European Commission nor Google responded to requests for comment.

Google faces two other antitrust investigations being conducted by the EU one is in relation to Android and the other concerns Google's shopping search service, claiming the company promotes its own services over those of rivals.

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager claimed in April that Google had "abused its dominant position" in the mobile market and reduced mobile software competition by incentivising handset manufacturers to pre-load its own Android apps onto those devices.

Google has objected to these claims, saying partner agreements are voluntary and other companies' apps are also pre-loaded on these devices.

Featured Resources

The IT Pro guide to Windows 10 migration

Everything you need to know for a successful transition

Download now

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Software-defined storage for dummies

Control storage costs, eliminate storage bottlenecks and solve storage management challenges

Download now

6 best practices for escaping ransomware

A complete guide to tackling ransomware attacks

Download now



The IT Pro Podcast: Is the future multi-cloud?

29 Nov 2019
Business strategy

Google accused of ‘union busting’

26 Nov 2019
public cloud

Vodafone launches 'Neuron' platform with Google Cloud

20 Nov 2019
hybrid cloud

Google Cloud ramps up its migration partnerships

20 Nov 2019

Most Popular

identity and access management (IAM)

44 million Microsoft customers found using compromised passwords

6 Dec 2019
Microsoft Azure

Microsoft, not Amazon, is going to win the cloud wars

30 Nov 2019
wifi & hotspots

Industrial Wi-Fi 6 trial reveals blistering speeds

5 Dec 2019
Policy & legislation

Boris Johnson suggests UK will side with US over Huawei exclusion

5 Dec 2019